India with its 1.1 billion population and the European Union with its almost 500 million representing the two largest democracies in the world, share many common values and ideals that make them natural partners in the modern world. Both India and the EU believe in unity in diversity. Within the context of the rapid internationalisation of science and technology, the EU and India have decided to significantly increase their Science and Technology (S&T) collaboration.
EU-India Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement
Formal collaboration in Science and Technology (S&T) with India started with the signature of the European Community-India Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement on 23 November 2001. The agreement is implemented by the Directorate-General for Research for the European Commission and by the Department of Science and Technology for the Government of India.
S&T plays an important part in the EU-India Strategic Partnership. The Joint Action Plan which was drawn up for implementing this partnership contains a number of action points which have important S&T dimensions. The significance of EU-India cooperation in S&T has also been highlighted at the highest political level. The Joint Statement of the EU-India Summit held in Helsinki on 13 October, 2006 states that: âThe EU and India recognise the critical role of science and technology (S&T) in striving towards their respective knowledge-based economies and the mutual benefits of further strengthening joint research and S&T cooperation.
In the Summit in New Delhi on 30 November 2007, the leaders, in recognition of the critical role of science and technology in striving towards their respective knowledge-based economies, expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the India-EU Ministerial Science Conference from 7-8 February, 2007. Within the framework of the India-EU S&T Cooperation Agreement which was renewed during the Summit, the leaders stated that they would welcome strengthened partnership initiatives such as joint projects with co-investment of resources in selected fields of mutual priority.
The âNew Delhi CommuniquÃ©â, issued at the end of the Ministerial Conference, and co-signed by the Conference Co-chairs, underlined the importance of a strong science and knowledge base as a major prerequisite for competitiveness, and the strong role of international S&T collaboration. It confirmed that the S&T cooperation between the EU and India should be based on the principles of symmetry, reciprocity, mutual benefit and, where appropriate, the co-investment of resources in joint actions.
More coordination between the European Union and its Member States
International cooperation in research and innovation is one of the five areas in which the Member States launched "partnership" initiatives (European Rersearch Area Groups) to increase cooperation. The objective is to implement the European strategy for international S&T cooperation. To drive it forward, the Strategic Forum for International Science and Technology Cooperation (SFIC) was established. SFIC is today developing three pilot initiatives: the India Pilot Initiative, the China Pilot Initiative and the USA Pilot Initiative.
The India Pilot Initiative on water and bio-resources challenges was launched at the Delhi EU/MS-India Stakeholders conference in November 2010. To bring the process to a higher, more comprehensive and strategic level, SFIC decided in 2011 to work on a draft strategic agenda outlining a broader range of common challenges, objectives, priority areas and instruments for EU/MS-India cooperation for the coming years.
This policy development process received a boost at the EU-India Summit on 10 February 2012, when, at the initiative of the Indian side, a joint declaration on research and innovation was signed. The Joint Declaration aims at enhancing the scale, scope and impact of cooperation and at building an "Indo-European research and innovation partnership", with a focus on common societal challenges and enhanced synergies between India and the EU.
A ministerial meeting took place in Brussels on 31 May 2012 hosted by the Danish Presidency of the European Union with the participation of Commissioner MÃ¡ire Geoghegan-Quinn, Morten Ãstergaard, Danish Science and Innovation Minister, Shri Vilasrao Deshmuk'h, Indian Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, and – representing the past and future EU Presidencies - Barbara Kudrycka, Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education representing and Stavros Malas, Cypriot Minister of Health.
Ministers agreed on a Brussels communiquÃ© which called for i) jointly define the scope and develop a Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda – a White Paper, ii) Establish a Group of Senior Officials (GSO) and iii) setting up an industry-driven India-Europe stakeholder group for research and innovation.
Through the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), the main programme for European Union science and technology funding, researchers in India are eligible to participate and be funded in European research projects (for example the COOPERATION programme) and mobility schemes (for instance Marie Curie fellowships under the PEOPLE programme). India ranks number 5 in terms of number of applications in FP7 (1275 applicants from India). Indian researchers are participants in 182 short listed proposals (out of which 135 signed grant agreements, compared to 97 contract agreements signed in FP6). Most successful FP7 priority areas with India are: Health (51 grant holders), Environment (35), ICT (27) and Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology (15). Another important area for developing links between research institutions is the mobility and training of researchers (currently 300 Indian Researchers
participate in Marie Curie actions).
One particular feature of EU-India S&T relations is the launch of coordinated calls for proposals. India and the EU committed themselves to spending â¬5 million each every year on joint research in areas of mutual benefit. Consequently, five Coordinated Calls for Proposals have been launched on
- Computational Materials Science (2007): Co-funding of 5Mâ¬ from each side (DST on Indian side); 6 projects on-going
- Food and Nutrition Research (2008): Co-funding of 3Mâ¬ from each side (DBT on Indian side); 2 projects on-going
- Solar Energy Systems (2009): Co-funding of 5Mâ¬ from each side (DST on Indian side); 3 projects on-going
- Partnering Initiative on Biomass and Biowastes (2010): Co-funding of 1Mâ¬ from each side (DBT on Indian side); 1 project on-going
- Water Research (2011): Co-funding of 16Mâ¬ from each side (10Mâ¬ from DST and 6â¬ from DBT on Indian side); 6 projects selected for funding.
An Overview of EU and Member States Research and Innovation Cooperation with India is currently in preparation and will introduce the main aspects of these cooperations, enabling readers to scan the range of schemes and quickly be able to grasp the key essentials of each cooperation. It will be available on this page.
Projects and initiatives providing support
The EU-India Cooperation Initiative is the single entry point to all available support measures for the promotion of EU India STI Cooperation. The approach is two-folded, aiming to:
- Offer scientists, companies, policy makers and other stakeholders structured and comprehensive information through the EU - India Window webportal
- Assist projects' cooperation for a coordinated approach, sharing of information and joint planning of activities
On www.euindiacoop.org you can find a guide to the right support tool on the following issues: learning more about the STI landscape, finding a partner, funding opportunities, FP7 training and policy dialogue.